Trump praises North Korea's 'wise' decision to back off Guam missile threat

Trump is taking a victory lap for North Korea's dialing back its threat.

ByABC News
August 16, 2017, 1:57 PM

— -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a "very wise and well reasoned decision" to delay any military action against the United States and back away from his threat to strike near the U.S. territory of Guam, President Donald Trump said today.

"The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!" President Trump wrote on Twitter.

According to North Korean state news agency KCNA, Kim was briefed on his country's plan to launch a missile toward Guam, the Pacific island that is home to several U.S. military bases.

Kim appeared to put the threat on pause in the KCNA report.

"Dear Supreme Leader will watch such stupid American behavior for a bit longer," a KCNA statement read, according to a translation from South Korean news agency Yonhap.

During Tuesday's State Department briefing, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said North Korea’s simply saying it won't fire toward Guam would not be enough to bring the United States back to the negotiating table.

"They know what they need to do," she said. "We would like to have talks with him when the time is right, when they show they're serious, serious about an effort to move to denuclearization. We have not seen that yet."

North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile last month – the second launch of an ICBM in its history – leading the United States to enforce new economic sanctions against Kim and his regime.

Angered over the sanctions, North Korea said on Aug. 7 it would take a “thousands-fold” revenge against the United States.

The following day, President Trump warned North Korea to stop threatening the United States or else “they will be met with fire and fury.”

In response to Trump’s comments, North Korea announced that it would launch four intermediate ballistic missiles near Guam by mid-August.

Trump tweeted last Thursday that U.S. military solutions are “locked and loaded” and told reporters perhaps his “fire and fury” warning “wasn’t tough enough.”

ABC News' Erin Dooley contributed to this report.

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